The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear a challenge by Arizona’s legislature to a voter-approved plan that stripped state lawmakers of their role in drawing congressional districts in an bid to remove partisan politics from the process. The state’s Republican-controlled legislature is objecting to a 2000 ballot initiative endorsed by the state’s voters that set up an independent commission to work out the U.S. House of Representatives districts in Arizona. The legislature contends that the amendment to the state constitution violated a provision of the U.S. Constitution that requires state legislatures to set congressional district boundaries.
In February, a special three-judge panel of the U.S. district court in Arizona ruled in favor of the commission.
The court ruled that the language in the Constitution that says legislatures have the role of setting the “times, places and manner” of federal elections refers not to a specific legislative body but to the state’s general authority to legislate on the issue as it sees fit.